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The Life and Teachings of Hillel Hardcover – 28 Mar 1994


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Yitzhak Buxbaum's book is a comprehensive study of the quotations and comments found in rabbinic literature about Hillel, who is probably the best known of the ancient sages. In an era of growing religious extremism, Hillel's liberalism in interpreting the halacha could perhaps serve as a beacon to modern-day rabbis to follow in his pious and liberal footsteps... Journal Of The Royal Musical Association Hillel, the oft-quoted sage who lived sometime between the second quarter of the last century B.C.E. and 10 C.E., is captured from all perspectives through his teachings. Some biographical details emerge, but the emphasis is on his gentle personality which suffused his teachings. It is this aspect which the author finds to be so attractive to contemporary Jews. Sample chapter titles are: Charity and Peace; Hillel and Herod; The Humble Man; Hillel's Teaching Style. The book ably demonstrates why Hillel's teachings were so influential and are still so popular. Jewish Book World The extraordinary nature of Hillel comes to life in the pages of this book. A long needed spiritual biography of one of the greatest talmudic teachers and religious figures is presented to us in a clear and inspiring fashion. -- Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, author of The Jewish Holidays and co-editor of The Jewish Catalogs The Life and Teachings of Hillel is a treasure of information relating to all aspects of Jewish life. It is well researched and very well documented. The book brings to life an entire historical period with its giant leaders. It is amazing how much of Hillel's teachings are still applicable in modern times. Any adult Jewish book collection will benefit from the addition of this volume. It is a joy to read! Journal Of Nietzsche Studies Yitzhak Buxbaum's book is a comprehensive study of the quotations and comments found in rabbinic literature about Hillel, who is probably the best known of the ancient sages. In an era of growing religious extremism, Hillel's liberalism in interpreting the halacha could perhaps serve as a beacon to modern-day rabbis to follow in his pious and liberal footsteps. Journal Of The Royal Musical Association

From the Author

The only comprehensive book about Hillel.
Everybody knows the same few teachings of Hillel and the same few stories about him. Years ago I came across an amazing Hillel story I'd never known about and was astonished. I eventually realized that much about Hillel was "lost" because of neglect and inattention. I was also surprised to find out that there was no comprehensive book in Hebrew or English about the greatest ancient rabbi! I wrote this book to fix that lack. You will find in it many teachings of Hillel and stories about him that you don't know. And it turns out that Hillel is much more interesting than most people would have thought. He is not so totally middle-of-the-road; he has a fiery, hasidic side most people don't know about. He is also on the side of love in a way that appeals to our generation. The book uses Hillel to show the difference between the two ways in Judaism: between the path of love of God and of fear of God, of Hillel and Shammai. Being clear about the difference between these two approaches makes much else clear.

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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A much-needed resource 26 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
With this book, Buxbaum provides a much-needed resource on the person generally recognized as the founder of rabbinical Judaism. He does a great service by giving the reader the historical, social/political, and religious context for the sayings attributed to Hillel -- both those that are well-known and those that are obscure.
Buxbaum also points to Hillel's more compassionate, inclusive interpretations of religious law as a helpful and appropriate counterpoint to the more legalistic approach of his contemporary, Shammai.
This volume is intended for the intelligent (and faithful) lay reader, rather than the scholar, but both will benefit from reading it. It brings to life a man of great influence and learning. It also revives a great tradition within Jewish life and thought.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Wonderful Book about a Truly Great Man 4 May 2006
By Daniel A. Spiro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Hillel is one of the greatest men who ever lived, and yet it is incredible how little most people -- even most Jews -- know about him. Commonly associated with a couple of glib quotations (e.g., "if I am not for me, who will be; if I am only for me, what am I?"), Hillel is perhaps the perfect bridge between Judaism and Christianity. That is nowhere more apparent than from reading Buxbaum's wonderful book.

In my own research concerning Jewish philosophy, I repeatedly go back to Buxbaum to rekindle my love for Hillel. Whether the reader is a high school student or a Jewish scholar, it is difficult to imagine not being touched by the example that Hillel provides. If I could take five Jewish books with me to a deserted island, this assuredly would be one of them.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
good book for the home library 13 April 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Buxbaum gives a very thorough account of Hillel and the circumstances surrounding his life. I found that the discription of his teachers and the state of Israel at the time to be very insightful in understanding some of Hillel's well known phrases.
My only negative criticism is that many things in the book are repeated over and over again, giving the impression that Mr. Buxbaum had a pre-set number of pages he needed to fill. Basically, it could have been shorter.
In all, I got a lot out of reading this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Fair and worth the read 31 Jan. 2014
By StudyLeader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent look into 2nd temple period teachings. The author does good job of filtering out the mysticism and legends of Hillel
Recommend to all 23 Mar. 2015
By rick varney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellence book. Recommend to all.
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